The Potential of Ethno-Nationalism in a Post-Liberal Order

Often the rise of nationalism is equated with binary fears and connoted with a murkier idea of politics, populism. Although it is undeniable that populism is very much integral to the rise of hard-line nationalism in Europe and the West, we need to see the potential and future of Ethno-Nationalism, which shapes our world now. The Rules-based Global Order is facing its own dilemma after these key events that changed the politics of innocence and reason among countries, at a diplomatic and even communitarian level: (1) Collapse of the Soviet Union; (2) Arab Spring in MENA; and (3) the Coronavirus Crisis. Although Multipolarity or Plurilateralism became inevitable since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, multilateralism is not bring threatened but being reverse engineered. The article will cover three basic questions on the issue and role of ethnonationalism in a post-liberal order:

  • How Will Multilateralism Change and Make Its Better Course?
  • Are Nationalistic Governments a Trans-political time bomb?
  • What Will Global Aesthetic Discourses Change and Become?
  • Will the Global South Earn What It Deserves After Scores of Redemption?

How Will Multilateralism Change and Make Its Better Course?

Multilateralism is perhaps the best yet improvable idea in the art and science of international affairs, which worked and resembled a system of consciousness and meaningfulness. It is also true that the economic, social and political models emanated through a multilateral narrative preserved by the West and some Eastern states, both Allies and non-Allies have seen immense repercussions. Some problems include the loss incurred by local markets, cognitive dissonance in matters related to identity and culture like in India and the EU so to estimate.

We must realize that the desaturation of the global order from the dead habits of the cold war era are still not thawed, and if we do not thaw our past, we cannot boil down our adversities as nation-states, ever.

For example, nothing special has happened in the affairs of a coincidence under POTUS Trump after Obama-Biden. Let’s examine some key developments here:

  • The US compels a change of status quo of trans-political narrative among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Trump envisages a weird way of confronting the fundamentalist agendas of ISIS and shocks Iran miserably in many ways, and opens doors for Russia to resolve the Syrian Civil War by lessening its intervention in Syria, methodically. Russia, Iran and Turkey have a better say on the Syrian issue.
  • The US has not paralysed NATO and the UN: instead, Trump has forced the member-states of both the organizations to have a more participatory role in the multilateral institutions, not only economically but in diplomatic and technology affairs.
  • The US has opened its own reservoir of opportunities it left via abandoning the international organizations in some sense, whether reasonable or not to states like India, France, Germany, South Korea, China and Japan.

However, we should discuss the legitimacy issues that the US has ignored much, which is the special question many people ask:

If not the US, then who?

The world order now does not require an absolutist nor ethnocentric modulation of the global order anymore. Yes — we are not living in the times where speeches, summits and discussions schemed by leaders do certify a Mozart’s symphonic imagery for scholars and individuals who strongly believe in globalism and cosmopolitanism. However, it does not mean that multilateralism will cripple. Fears exist over a turbulent China, whose expansionist motives are neither clinical, nor trustworthy. However, the rise of SAARC leader India under Modi and ASEAN states like Japan and Republic of Korea is something we must not overlook.

It is expected that the global order will open up to more trans-political challenges that are governed by a communitarian approach of nation-communities, which is healthy and realistic. There would not be too much turbulence in the global order but necessitated, hopeful and politically clinical changes under the West and its allies, India and the ASEAN.

Economic affairs, may seem as ravaging, capriciously delicate like civil affairs. It is true that armed conflicts were some centuries before the skillful affairs adopted by states to economize their political interests. It would be inappropriate to term economic disputes and issues of organized and disorganized nature as mere 'wars' because economic issues that exist among states, like the Global North v Global South divide in the fourth stage of globalization — have shown how fragile the world is.

Still — realizing sooner that fragility is the scar of a global polity, which is not irreversible, it becomes easier for nation-states to draft strategies to prevent their due course towards gradual dilution.

Are Nationalistic Governments a Trans-political time bomb?

This is a good question because people do not just have (or maybe they have one) binary fears of a Neo-Nazi world, but they sometimes have anxieties because the good and fair world of multilateralism and liberalism they wish does not come into reality. Let’s understand the question properly. Nationalistic Governments, often which are Far-Right/Center/Conservative/Center-Right — do adopt cunning but impressive strategies to make changes in their polities. We have some failed exceptions like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Pakistan’s Imran Khan, Russian Federation’s Vladimir Putin, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the US' Donald J Trump and Turkey’s Reccip Tayyip Erdogan, but we have some excellent cases like India’s Narendra Modi, Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong, Netherlands' Mark Rutte and France’s Emmanuel Macron. Even the going-to-be-lost Germany’s Angela Merkel has risen as the 'Mutti' for the German people. Giuseppe Conte in Italy is still way balanced while Matteo Salvini, the Far-Right leader is facing backlash. Despite Nigel Farage’s Far-Right measures, Boris Johnson has successfully united the UK, executed Brexit and can overcome Britain’s identity crisis effectively, as despite his alignments with the US, the UK is not too isolationist to act upon. Nevertheless, leaders must maintain their political legitimation appropriately.

Let’s sneek other Center and Left-leaning politicians as well, who are considered as the idols of global pacifism. Justin Trudeau and Jacinda Ardern have earned appraise for their trustworthy responses to combat COVID19 and Chung Sye-kyun of South Korea’s Democratic Party will invoke the liberal promise to preserve South Korea. There are few Center-Left leaders who have balanced to plurilateralism, but ultimately are progressive by strategies if not by ideological commitments.

Truth is that cultural backlashes would not exist anymore, because identity politics in reality, cannot exist beyond non-obscure and anti-defeatist commitments. Often, communities thaw their populist measures to earn love and compassion because demands for identity-related issues do feel comfort in leaving the path of ideological obscuration.

Pseudo-globalists and cosmopolitan utopian thinkers may presume that cultures are drugs and the purpose of customs and cultural activities is the path to obscure means of human discrimination, but this century does not require such repercussions to bear, because it won’t. What cosmopolitanism may conceive of is something which has to do with the filtration of the narratives that individuals, communities and nations keep with their lives throughout.

Humanity does not like being unkind, but a positivist and negative interpretation of the Hobbesian view of social contract is unreal.

The idea that people feel free to invoke who they are enables space for more responsibility. There will always be serious repercussions among communities because that never is so easy, but it is quite certain that leaders from all of the political and identity spectra won’t ignore the fact that the world has to be more responsive instead of being divided. This time, after Coronavirus crisis, the world will be in a unison of unequals in a more equitable manner, which is never expected so easier. Thus, Nationalistic Governments are not a Trans-Political Time Bomb.

What Will Global Aesthetic Discourses Change and Become?

The question relates to the culture of a global village and of the future of human rights as a universal idea. Well, nothing will happen much. The idea of human rights will not be owned or monopolized by certain institutions who misinterpret and idolize the need to uphold them. Discussing repercussions is as blind as not understanding how cultural liberties can drive a realistic approach to preserve the human rights of communities and individuals.

Individual libertarianism will bear a conservative filtration for sure, but will be covered by the shine of human accountability and responsibility. Societal communitarianism will not override individual rights, but will get a wider and healthier ground of advocacy as ethnocentrism ends for the global community.

The humanitarian and pacifist approach of preserving human rights would not end, for sure. Instead — leaders can play narratives to drive how deriving human rights obligations can be whipped by sophisticated and strategic tools of participatory legitimization that governments and people will have enshrine themselves with. The civility of the global order will not be based on certain aesthetic biases that are assumed by communities and powerful people, but will be based on the Ode of compassion and openness which people can grab with time.

To be honest — the urge of openness and compassion is unconditional yet not cheap in these times. People would always intend to test the value of their acts of love and purpose, but will never shy away from being kind to people.

We must however thank the West for one of its achievements: using the idea of Liberalism to unlock and open global ambitions of every commoner who maybe busy with his rattles in streets, but would love to hope and seek a world that cares and loves people. Maybe they were ethnocentric and thought Christian values would dominate the world — but the Globe isn’t so same. The Asian community for example, can be way compassionate and open to change their fate and make the discourses of human rights beyond reactionary noises.

The Asian community whether Chinese, Balinese, Indian or even Japanese, is kind, and much can be exemplified by a more learned and complex discourse of multipolarity or plurilateralism. The Europeans might not be prepared for this, but the Asians like the Africans are.

Will the Global South Earn What It Deserves After Scores of Redemption?

The Global South will become more powerful and is set to gain impetus. India for example has earned appraise and support from various countries which may or may not be friendly which one another. ASEAN countries except North Korea are set to combat Chinese presence in Asia-Pacific and will assert their interests, keeping the West intact while Westerners are in the stage of learning and remorses.

Economically, the SAARC leader India will gain economic growth in coming years despite COVID and will embark to create a system of trust and tryst to prioritize the sovereign interests of the West against Chinese expansionism, while the ASEAN will keep the Asian order fluid.

African states too, are eager to come out of three of their dilemmas: (1) the Eurocentric and Sinocentric approaches of assistance; (2) decimating the image of poverty and (3) lack of internalizing their technological resources.

Diplomatically, the United States is providing opportunities to certain countries in matters related to international cooperation and peace, such as a mixed partnership of nations like India, France, Korea, Germany and Japan. Russia too under Putin till 2036 will be busy with the MENA for a while and would obviously expected a dilemma-stricken West. Iran and Turkey would have to rethink their commitments to Muslims and the GCC countries and Organization for Islamic Cooperation will have to face their own hard truths about trans-political legitimacy issues they own in a dire manner.

China cannot hope much rigid support from Russia in many matters because Putin cannot ignore that Russia itself has thawed much out of the Soviet past the Russian people had, and it is high time that the Russian identity after bemusing the West — must have constructive, even if multipolar-centric measures to reform the international community and multilateral organizations.

Quoting India’s former Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin would be appropriate to complete the position. In an interview to The Hindu, he said:

Again, beyond your EEZ [exclusive economic zone], there is very limited understanding of what states can do and what states can’t do. Now, why should we focus on these broader thematic issues? It’s because you’ll see our experience has been: ungoverned spaces lead to opportunities for those who are inimical to global governance to breed, whether it is in states or it is beyond state boundaries, this has been the experience, and therefore, we as a country would like to focus on these things. […] In a globalised world, you can say anything is internationalised, but I don’t think there is any fear that if something is... States are sovereign, they can do what they want, but if you don’t have resonance, it’s a loss. The rest is their choice to me.

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